tobuns wrote:Perfect(ly wierd shaped) paring Knife = Can't sharpen at home
Serrated Utility Knife = Can't sharpen at home
Hollow-Ground Santoku = Can't sharpen at home
I know Shun offers sharpening (for now) but you have to plan ahead and send them in (along with postage) Personally, I'd pass on anything I can't sharpen using a whetstone.
I just wanted to clarify that, yes, you can actually sharpen all of these knives at home once you learn how to do it properly. Yup, even that serrated knife.
As an example, I own multiple Shun knives, other cheaper German steel knives, and one or two (I can't remember) non-fancy Japanese knives. Japanese steel (for the most part) tends to be more brittle, yes, but a good knife should not be so brittle that you have to seriously baby it. I use my knives at work every day, and a little honing in between sharpening keeps them sharp and ready all the time. Plus, I have yet to chip any of my knives. I sharpen ALL of these knives on a Japanese waterstone. You can get fancy and go from super low (200/300 etc. for really re-sharpening/cutting) to super high grits for a fine polish (the most that I've ever done is 10,000). Ideally, after sharpening, you take your knives to a ceramic honing rod (or even a ceramic mug/plate), and finish it on a leather strop for the whole meal deal. But, I usually just re-sharpen on a 1000 grit stone, hone on my ceramic, and that's it. With that same ceramic honing rod, you can (re)sharpen your serrated knife by going through each serration individually. It's time-consuming, but if you buy a knife that you love and/or use a lot, it's worth the time and effort. (Also, YouTube has quite a few, really great, knife-sharpening tutorials for those of you who don't know how to do it.)